Work Is The Curse Of The Drinking Classes
Oscar Wilde Quote
Work is the curse of the drinking classes; Oscar Wilde playing devils advocate with the moralistic do as i say not as I do brigade with proof finally that work really does interfere with your social standing
Oscar Wilde playfully poking fun at the stiff upper lip attitude of the Victorians with their holier than thou outlook on how others should live their lives.
Karl Marx was attributed with the opposite quote about 'drink being the curse of the working classes' and its adoption in late nineteenth century thinking was seamless as it suited the moralistic ideals of the day.
This line of thought was in the interests of the industrialists as they needed their work force to be punctual and fit for work every day to achieve production targets.
Middle class society also bought into the idea and with just a few well placed stories in the press of drunkenness leading to violence and debauchery it is easy to sway public opinion.
So you can imagine the dismay in high society circles when Oscar turns the tables with his reversal of the original quote.
Do As I Say, Not As I Do
These days there is hardly a mention on the 'drink being a curse' version as the notion is about as dull as dish water. The Oscar Wilde variation however is widely celebrated and is still consistently being recited to this day, with its appeal so high it is even possible to buy a T shirt with this quote on it.
Many a glass has been raised to toast this quote and the irony of its meaning is much more appreciated in modern society.
The Victorian elite adopted a 'do as i say not as I do' attitude because it didn't seem to diminish their appetite for good food and drink.
Many people throughout the class structure used to and still do like a drink and many do believe that work does in fact interfere with their drinking.
I found another nice quote that takes both these versions one step further by adding the thinking class, it is attributed to John J. Ross:
"If drink is the curse of the working classes and work is the curse of the drinking classes then chess is the curse of the thinking classes."